When you’re a parent of multiples, it’s easy to justify having two (or three) of the same baby swing, toys, or outfits. But do you feel the same way about books? Filling your home with children’s books has so many benefits: reading is a healthy hobby for the whole family, and children who are exposed to a wide variety of children’s books are more likely to become lifelong learners. Reading to your children exposes them to vocabulary as well as the values and stories that your family shares. Success in reading leads to success in writing as well. Additionally, researchers have found that children growing up with 500+ books in the home go on to more years of education, no matter the level of education of the parents (ScienceDaily).
The reality of filling your home with quality children’s literature, however, is another financial obstacle for many families. Obviously, I utilize our local library quite a bit (hooray for FREE!), but it’s still worth the investment to have a home library for my children. Over the years, I’ve found a number of ways to save when purchasing children’s books:
- Thrift Stores: While I’ve found that the prices at our local thrift stores are high for used clothing and furniture, most sell their children’s books for just .50 or $1.00 each. When my kids are begging for a “treat,” it’s easy to give in to this request when they’re getting a new-to-them book at my price level.
- Library Sales: Our local libraries hold book sales once or twice a year, and the money they earn is used to purchase new materials. I’ve found children’s books in great condition, sometimes almost new, and pay anywhere from .50-$2.00 per book. On the last day of the sale, they allow you to fill an entire paper grocery bag for just $5.00. Check with your local library for area sales.
- Yard Sales: Be careful when shopping yard sales; I’ve seen everything from 10-cents-a-book to parents overpricing their kids’ used books at $4-5 a piece. No, thank you! Unless it’s a hardcover in excellent condition, I stick with the lower prices.
- Summer Reading Programs: We’re coming onto the summer season where local libraries and bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble offer Summer Reading Programs. Usually these programs reward children with books for their summer reading activity.
- Organize a Book Swap: Within your moms club, church group, or preschool class, get a group of moms together for a Book Swap. Ask each mom to bring the same number of books and swap them out among the families. You could schedule this as a yearly event to encourage revolving libraries.
What other ways do you save on your family’s library?